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Sharon Gless to receive gay police award, Hannah Free DVD release party in Chicago
2010-06-14

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPECIAL GUEST: Janice Langbehn, fighting for partner rights

CHICAGO -- Multi-award winning actress Sharon Gless ( Burn Notice, Queer As Folk, Cagney & Lacey ) will be in Chicago for two events Saturday, June 26, Pride Weekend. She will be honored by international LGBT law enforcement members, and attend a Chicago DVD release party for Hannah Free.

Special guest at the event will be Lambda Legal client Janice Langbehn, whose own story of being separated from her dying partner inspired President Obama to push for more equal access for gay partners.

Hannah Free, an award-winning feature film starring Gless, was produced in Chicago. The story of an independent spirit and the woman she calls home, Hannah Free has played in more than 70 cities around the world and is now available from Wolfe Video in North America.

The DVD party will be Saturday, June 26, noon-2 p.m. at the Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe in downtown Chicago. Tickets are $50 and include a copy of the DVD, a copy of the new Hannah Free novel from Bella Books, with photos from the film, a chance to meet the cast and crew, and hors d'oeuvres. Hannah Free was written by Claudia Allen and based on her stage play. It was directed by Wendy Jo Carlton and also stars Maureen Gallagher, Ann Hagemann, Kelli Strickland, Taylor Miller and Jacqui Jackson.

Purchase tickets online at www.hannahfree.com, under the tickets button. Tickets will be held at the door.

On Friday, June 25, 7:30 p.m., Claudia Allen will sign copies of her novel at Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark. The event is free and will include some actors reading from the original stage play.

The Lesbian and Gay Police Association-Gay Officers Action League of Chicago will present Gless with their "Bridge to Unity" Award on Saturday, June 26, also at the Palmer House Hilton. The public can purchase tickets for $100. Tables of ten are available for $1,000.

Information on Hannah Free is available at www.HannahFree.com or email info@hannahfree.com . ( Tickets purchased online will be held at the door. )

Further information on the conference is available at www.goalchicago.info/2010

Further information on the banquet is available at www.goalchicago.info/banquet

ABOUT JANICE LANGBEHN

"I'm sorry." Those two little words are what Janice Langbehn has been waiting to hear since February 2007, when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, just 39 years old, died separated from Langbehn and their children.

But the apology did not come from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, where Pond lay dying from a brain aneurysm suffered Feb. 18, 2007, hours after the family boarded the R Family Cruise. Instead, President Barack Obama said those words to Langbehn in a phone call April 15, 2010 when he phoned her in Olympia, Wash., from Air Force One, ironically while it circled over Miami, where Jackson Memorial is located.

Obama called Langbehn to explain a memo he had signed that day to address discrimination LGBT families face from healthcare facilities. Langbehn and her children will be in Chicago for the release of Hannah Free, because she was so inspired by the film after seeing it last summer.

ABOUT HANNAH FREE

Hannah Free tells the moving story of the lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home. Hannah and Rachel grow up in the same Midwest town, where traditional gender expectations eventually challenge their deep love for one another. Hannah becomes an adventurous, unapologetic lesbian and Rachel a strong but reserved homemaker. Weaving between past and present, HANNAH FREE reveals how these two passionate women maintain their love affair despite a marriage, a world war, infidelity, and family denial.

Hannah Free has played at 60+ film festivals in North America, including San Francisco's Frameline Fest and Los Angeles's OUTFEST, and has won multiple prestigious awards, including Best Feature Film at Philadelphia's Q-Fest, Austin's Gay & Lesbian Film Fest and Montreal's International LGBT Film Festival. The San Francisco Chronicle said of Sharon Gless's performance "She commands the screen," and Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times calls this "A terrific role for Sharon Gless, who runs with it gloriously." The Chicago tribune gave the film three stars.

The DVD will come loaded with features including interviews with Sharon Gless, writer Claudia Allen, director Wendy Jo Carlton and the cast and crew; bloopers; Behind the Scenes featurette, WTTW-Television Chicago Tonight segment, and more. Hannah Free was produced by Ripe Fruit Films and also stars Taylor Miller ( All My Children ) , Maureen Gallagher, Ann Hagemann, Kelli Strickland and Jacqui Jackson.


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